Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
Chris Thompson's Reserve Matches
By: Paul Holmes
TOWARDS the end of last season Lennie Lawrence decided that the club was in desperate need of some young blood. This decision was brought on by the fact that Jonathan Rowan was the only graduate of the youth set up in almost three years.
Lawrence gave the opportunity to many young Premier League players who were set to be released in the summer. Amongst them were Manchester United's Michael Rose and Mark Studlley, Sunderland's David Morgan, Leicester's Danny Thomas and Liverpool's Steven Torpey and Chris Thompson.
Several impressed and were offered 1 year contracts. However it was the Scouser Thompson who impressed the most and was offered a two year deal.
Thompson's first match was against Wigan in a 1-1 draw that defied the normal idea of boredom. Wigan took an early lead and seemed content to keep the ball in the air for the remainder. Town's strike force was fed scraps all game. Yet whenever Thompson had the ball he looked dangerous. He was not afraid to run at people and showed fantastic ball skills. He was also willing to track back and fight for possession. Thompson only chance came near the end of the game. He was played through by Black and produced a fantastic lob over the keeper to level the match.
Thompson's second game was against Sheff Utd in a reserve Cup game. Again Thompson looked good despite poor service and grabbed a good goal. This time Town were defeated 4-2 after extra time.
Whilst playing for Town's second string, Thompson had the problem of playing with fellow trialists. The whole team wasn't gelling and any 3/4 man moves were very rare. However this year Thompson will have the benefit of playing with a better striker, probably Jeffery or Rowan in the reserves and will benefit from having spent pre-season with the team.
As for his first team prospects........... Well I wouldn't say he'll start, but if he continues to impress at his current rate I can't see how Lawrence cannot give him a go. Reserve team manager, Paul Wilkinson, is a big admirer of Thompson and will be putting forward his case when required.
I think he could get a few chances in the cup competitions. I suspect that he may make the bench for the Lincoln game. However with the current striker status of Allen set to be suspended and Livvo having problems with his calves Town are down to 4 strikers for the Crewe game.
Assuming that Lennie plays Jevons and Rowan (on the back of his form in Scandinavia), that just leaves Jeffery and Thompson fighting it out for the place on the bench, but who's to say only one striker will be named amongst the subs? I would be surprised if Thompson gets more than 15 minutes in any of the upcoming friendlies against St Mirren, Scunthorpe and Huddersfield as the reserves have got a hectic schedule of games around the same time. let's not forget that Thompson is going to start in the reserves and try to work his way up.
My overall prediction:
- First Team Debut - Lincoln City 21/8/01 Worthington Cup
- First Team Goal - Lincoln City 21/8/01 Worthington Cup
- League Debut - Milwall 17/11/01
- First League Goal - Man City 1/12/01
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